Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lindzen's misrepresentation at House of Commons

Prof Lindzen gave a presentation at the House of Commons in London on 22 February. Judith Curry ran a post that now has over 1200 comments.

Real Climate has noted what I think is quite a shocking misrepresentation. It is in this slide:



It's yet another in the series of claims that someone is "manipulating the record". That's a heavy accusation.  But as RC I think convincingly demonstrates, this is not a comparison of two versions of the same index. It is a comparison of the land only, met stations index “GLB.Ts.txt” in 2012 with the land and ocean index “GLB.Ts+dSST.txt” in 2008. And, as is well known, the land index has a higher slope. As they show, the land ocean index properly compared has changed very little over that period.

So did Lindzen just make a mistake? Well, as Hank Roberts has shown, it looks awfully like he just lifted it, without attribution (but that's not to say without permission) from the JunkScience blog, Feb 7th.






 
Update: Here is my own plot of the difference between current values of GISS Ts (land only) and GISS Ts+dSST (land/ocean):



Update. Carrick suggested puting the plot of the diff between 2008 and 2012 LOTI on the same plot. I've done that. Following Gavin, I used the wayback Oct 2008 version, and showed the plots and trends to end 2007.

So for the 2012 cases, I got a slightly different trend to the above, which was for the period 1880-2011. The trend now is 0.114 °C/century, and the trend difference between LOTI 2009 and now is -0.00216 °C/century. This is slightly different to Gavin's, and has negative sign. I don't know why, but in absolute magnitude both trends are small. It's possible my wayback version is different from Gavin's.

Here's the plot. In the background (faint) is the initial plot, though cut at end 2007. In darker color is the diff in GISS LOTI (land/ocean)  between the Oct 2008 version and now.





42 comments:

  1. What does the corrected figure look like?

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  2. Carrick,
    Lindzen doesn't say exactly which 2008 data he uses, and I don't have any from that year to hand. But Gavin at RC dug up some old versions, and produced this graph. The scale of the difference plot makes it hard to say anything other than the differences are small. But he does give the trend difference 2008-2012 for GISS Land/Ocean: 0.0032 °C/Century.

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  3. It looks like the second figure in this article at RC:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/03/misrepresentation-from-lindzen/

    As Gavin states: "...the biggest difference in trend (between 2006 and today), is a mere 0.05ºC/Century, and from 2008 to 2012 it is only 0.003ºC/Century – a factor of 40 smaller than Lindzen’s claim. What is going on?"

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  4. Thanks NIck and Steve.

    If we can figure out a way to produce a plot that shows what the corrected figure looks like, that would nail this one.

    Pictures are worth more than quantitative explanations, though the numbers are interesting anyway.

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  5. Carrick,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I found an Oct 2008 wayback versions, following Gavin. So I've added it as an appendix. The slope came out negative, different to Gavin's. But both are small, and there may be version discrepancies at either end (2012 or 2008).

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    1. That's awesome Nick. I almost did a happy dance.

      I'd suggest you mail it Lindzen and explain to him how you got the older data set (so he can reproduce the curve himself if he chooses so).

      Now we just need to figure out a way to hammer the people who claim you can't measure global temperature with XXX precision.

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  6. Evidently someone wrote to Lindzen and he acknowledges the error (see the bottom of the Curry post)

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    1. Eli,
      yes, he's been at Real Climate too, and a bit more expansively. We'll see.

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    2. A bit more about John Kosowski here. I don't get the impression that he has any strong connection to Lindzen.

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    3. Nick,

      There were some questions bantering about regarding a few of Lindzen's claims/slides, so I just thought I would ask him about them. He provided answers, and I passed them along. I suspect he would have done the same had anyone else asked, except of course, Martin Lack.

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    4. Thanks, John - yes, that's what I had surmised.

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    5. I thank Nick for linking to my blog and, while I still await a visit and/or apology there from Eli for unfairly and unnecessarily undermining me on Judith Curry's blog, I do think you should all read my latest comment (#61) on SkepticalScience's Lindzen's London Illusions' post, which is because the more Lindzen tries to extract himself from the mire, the deeper he sinks into it.

      I have apologised to Lindzen for my more contentious allegations John, as you well know. So please don't bother trying to misrepresent yet another aspect to this situation here.

      As is becoming ever-more transparent, the only reason Lindzen has not replied to me is that, having been 1 of only 2 true sceptics in the audience, I was able to see right through what he was doing. He has therefore elected to uphold his right to silence, as provided by the Fifth Ameendment to the US Constitution.

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    6. Hey Martin,

      Which aspect of this situation have I misrepresented?

      Better give that Fifth Amendment another read. It does not apply to emails from private individuals.

      Lindzen has not replied to you because you are not polite. You can't smear him with tobacco accusations and then expect to engage in a meaningful dialog. He replied to me very promptly, and I suspect that he would reply to anyone that was civil. I suspect he would have even replied to Gavin had Gavin brought the error to his attention before "going to press." Of course, Gavin had the right to go to press, but he could have had the added benefit of an acknowledgement of the error right from Lindzen right from the start.

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  7. So given he's admitted it was an error do you plan to take out "misrepresentation" from the title as it seems to suggest something altogether different?

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    1. No. It happened and it was a misrepresentation. And we haven't heard from Lindzen yet.

      The thing is that someone like Lindzen should know that GISS hasn't been making massive changes to it's index. So if he says a claim like this, he should have checked very carefully. To accuse NASA/GISS on this basis is reckless, at least.

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  8. HR has he admitted it or only by the proxy of John Kosowski?

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  9. OT

    Nick, are you going to run the BEST data through TempLS? Some ideas:

    I'd think BEST + HadSST3 + interpolation will significantly reduce the pre-1940 fluctuations. i.e. 1910 - 1940 warming.

    You might be able to do another update of "just 60 stations" with the added data. Or perhaps, "just 60 areas" -- areas that have long had stations within a short distance.

    A series that is geographically independent of GHCN (i.e. using only stations that are a reasonable distance from any GHCN station reporting at the same time).

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    1. CCE,
      Yes, that was a project left over from last October. It's timely with the new version. And HADSST3, like BEST, is a dataset that one would like to put into regular use, but is not currently kept up to date. In that respest, they match.

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    2. I think with the additional coverage from BEST and improved bucket corrections in HadSST3, all of the "action" is in the earlier parts of the record.

      Delete
  10. Gavin himself has received an apology from Lindzen so the matter of reliability of John Kosowski is moot -
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=11099#comment-230244

    At this point the big question might be why Gavin hasn't updated the RealClimate post with a note making it clear that Lindzen conceded an honest mistake and apologised.

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    Replies
    1. It was Lindzen's smear. It is also Lindzen's responsibility to make a proper retraction and apoology. Not ReakClimate.

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    2. I look forward to the day when RealClimate decides to apologise for various false smears it has made in the past, e.g.
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-regarding-the-hockey-stick/

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    3. Well well. And now for some completely different.... Lindzen's smear and errors embarrassing?

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  11. I personally think everyone should apologize for their "false smears." That would, however, put a lot of "skeptics" out of business.

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  12. There's a longer apology here, apparently from the organisers. I notice that for the first time, Howard Hayden (the JunkScience author) is acknowledged, and rather profusely. I remember the old saying that victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.

    I also notice the recurrence of Hayden's lame JunkScience defence, that the two files had the same filename (or here, URL). They don't.

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  13. Nick,

    WRT your link to Lindzen's apology, near the end he states;

    "This doesn't alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science. The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias."

    Hmm. so Lindzen is admitting to confirmation bias?

    It's quite clear that he does have a bias and that this was a public hearing.

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    Replies
    1. I also read that as Lindzen admitting to confirmation bias. Do you believe that only skeptics have a confirmation bias?

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    2. Why wouldn't we just assume that everybody has confirmation bias?

      That's one of the premises of the scientific method.

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  14. cce, "I personally think everyone should apologize for their "false smears." That would, however, put a lot of "skeptics" out of business."

    Sadly, it's not just skeptics that engage in smears. Even realclimate does it sometimes as pointed out above. I think it is a waste of energy engaging in "only the other side makes smears" or which side uses more "smears".

    If you have truth on your side, the stronger argument is to simply point out the regularity of bone-headed errors by many of the so-called skeptics. This is hardly the only example of that. Remember that wretched piece of work by D'Aleo and Watts, "Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?"

    Note of course they don't make any accusations here, they're just brave enough to ask questions.

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  15. Nick: "I also notice the recurrence of Hayden's lame JunkScience defence, that the two files had the same filename (or here, URL). They don't."

    I don't know how lame that is.

    The naming convention is petty confusing and it is easy to get it mixed up. File names that were a bit less ambiguous would be nice.

    Then a a bit more real "skepticism" when you find an anomalous result like this. If I find a result that over-throws or revolutionizes physics, I typically stop what i'm doing and look for the sign error.

    And if after careful review, you can't find an error, maybe write Rudy and ask him "Is this right? Is your answer really this much different between those two years? How can that be?" Or something like that.

    IMO, this figure was obviously wrong to the causal viewer, Lindzen's BS meter should have gone off when he saw it. Why it was wrong should have been the only kicker here.

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    1. Carrick,
      I mostly agree, of course. I called the defence lame mainly because it isn't true. One file is called "GLB.Ts.txt and the other GLB.Ts+dSST.txt. As often in Gistemp, I think they follow conventions from the time when filenames could not exceed fourteen characters (tho here one has 15). But they are explicit enough.

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    2. Yeah, their filenames probably are driven from the old Fortran (Fortrash to us snotty C/C++ programmers) days, and many of their filenames resemble alphabet soup.

      But you shouldn't claim things that aren't true as a defense for an error, that is definitely uberlame and not a sound defense at all (in fact it just makes you look more like a complete id*ot).

      Similarly, presenting a figure that claims someone is engaged in fraudulent behavior without even trying to confirm with them that the contents of your figure is correct, or lifting somebody else's figure without checking it yourself. This is sloppy, careless, indifferent to truth sort of nonsense.

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    3. Carrick, if you read Lindzen's 2008 essay, "Climate science: is it currently designed to answer questions?" it is clear that he actually does believe that climate science data is being manipulated to bring observations into line with model predictions. He gives six examples in the essay of where data initially did not agree with the AGW theory and was adjusted later to fit it better. It may be that this is a kind of paranoia but I do believe the mistake was made in good faith. I tend to think it was more irrational than dishonest or careless, frankly.

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  16. Alex,

    Define skeptic?

    While Lindzen may be a true skeptic, in the strict scientific sense, he puts forth, or uses, the results from fake skeptics, as seen here. Or does so himself outside of the scientific literature itself.

    A true beliver is no different from a fake skeptic.

    Neither one adheres strictly to the scientific method.

    In the public sphere, Lindzen is clearly a fake skeptic.

    Carrick,

    Confirmation bias is not a premise of the scientific method.

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    1. I think people who rave about "fake skeptics" are "true believers" indeed. Regarding confirmation bias, it has been accepted since at least the time of Thomas Kuhn that scientists are human and all humans have a confirmation bias. These days, theoretical physicists design experiments in order to mitigate against the confirmation bias of the experimenter; the fact that climate scientists don't do this shows the immaturity of the discipline.

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    2. EFS_Junior, it's a premise that everybody has bias.

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    3. Alex, that's pretty funny... "Thomas Kuhn" and his discussion of the scientific method was the first thing that popped into my brain when I saw EFS_Junior's assertion. I'll allow him the opportunity to revise and extend his remarks and maybe that will make more sense.

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  17. I think people who rave about "true believers" are "fake skeptics" indeed.

    I'll just stick to my original statement, that confirmation bias is not a premise of the scientific method.

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  18. EFS_Junion "I'll just stick to my original statement, that confirmation bias is not a premise of the scientific method."

    Good. I'm happy for you to stay ignorant.

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  19. Since confirmation bas is not a premise of the scientific method, EFS_Junior should write to all of those scientists who design blind experiments in their studies and tell them they're not following the scientific methods.

    :roll:

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  20. That GISS manipulates the records to show more warming is more ably demonstated here;
    http://sppiblog.org/news/thermometer-magic#more-2720

    So the premise remains correct, he just chose the wrong dataset to show it. Still I'm glad to see people actually lisening to Lindzen for once rather than just ignoring his words and just "smearing" him with a false tobacco or oil associations. Amazing the fight we had to get his bio on wikipedia almost cleared of such nonsense. Alex above was in the thick of it. I gave up early after realising the RC founder, Wm Connoley to be intractably the worst smear offender of the lot. So the double standards there and here are quite pathetic and transparent. When you give the same treatment to upside down Mann then you can claim some credibility. Wouldn't it be nice also if RC's Mann or Steig were as gracious as Lindzen in admitting their rather more blatant errors. Alas you need to be a grown-up to do that. Smearing is a way of life for Gavin too. So spare us the indignation please.

    And if that is the only error then it's a darn site fewer than Trenberth, Mann, and many other activist-scientists make in their public presentations.

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  21. jgdes,

    "as gracious as Lindzen in admitting"

    Well we don't know if he was gracious - do you know what he said? What I do know is that apologies made on his behalf were not at all gracious. This one from the organisers is headed:
    Apology From Prof. Lindzen for Howard Hayden's NASA-GISS Data Interpretation Error

    Since he was originally displaying the graphic from JuckScience without acknowledgement, I think this late discolsure of its origins is hardly graceful.

    But your link is way off the point. You are showing ConUS figures from USHCN. They are not global and not GISS adjustments.

    Further, they have been carefully justified. The largest, TOBS, is very hard to argue with. The actual times of observation are recorded, the drift is known, as are the diurnal temperature patterns. How could they not adjust?

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